Movable Type 3.2
April 30, 2008
Do crosswords really need to be replaced?
Well, I certainly don't think so, as I'm a big crossword fan. But Crickler, a potential "replacement," is kind of fun. In addition to crosswords. Not instead of them. Anyone tried it? Opinions?
Wednesday randoms, on a Wednesday, even!
Aren't you proud of me? Yeah.
* I keep expecting it to be warm out. It isn't. It's sunny, unlike yesterday, but that vague thought we had of eating at the tables outside Panera? Yeah, not so much.
* The Yarn Harlot event at Webs was great. I have pictures, even. I'll try to post them tonight.
* I'm moving! I think I keep forgetting to tell you. Just a few towns over, so not a huge move in geographic or life-changing ways, but I'm beyond stressed about the actual moving process. Dewey and I will have one human roommate, three feline roommates, and two Roomba roommates. It should be an adventure.
* After many recommendations from you guys and others, I finally got Danskos. I heart them muchly. I should have listened to you all much sooner.
* Dude, seriously? They're up to PC3-10600 on SDRAM ratings now? I had no idea. And in case you were wondering, Wikipedia tells me that DDR3 DIMMs have the same number of pins (240) and are the same size as DDR2, but are electrically incompatible. Okay. Moving on.
* This article about teen girls "customizing" their religious beliefs sounds really interesting. Interesting enough to make me buy Cosmo Girl!? We'll see.
* Can we discuss the whole door-holding issue for a minute? Sure, it's nice to hold doors for people. I am not convinced that it's nice to hold doors for people who are still halfway across the building, so they feel dumb and pretty much run to the door because oh my gosh you're holding it for them and what else are they supposed to do? People! Stop it!
* I'm slightly embarrassed by how thrilled I am that new TV episodes are back. I'm loving Bones and Gossip Girl, and I thought last week's Grey's was enh but the clips I've seen from tomorrow's look really good. And I have last night's Women's Murder Club on the TiVo to watch tonight. Wheee!
* Remember when I had that race with my friend to see if I could finish a baby blanket before she gave birth? (I lost, that time.) We're having the race again. I'm even knitting the same freaking blanket (in a different color). I'm about 25-30% done with the blanket, and she's already, what, 36 weeks? So I have a feeling I will lose again. But I'm going to try.
April 29, 2008
Politics Links (4/29)
Obama denounces Wright. (I think the word "denounce" needs to go away for a while, don't you? I'm kind of sick of it.)
Everyone's favorite pretend president, Martin Sheen, endorses Obama.
Edwards supporters are switching to Obama. Will Edwards himself?
Andrew Sullivan on Clinton and her frenemies.
The "Billification" of Hillary's campaign. They say he's helping more than hurting, but given enough time, he'll surely say something completely self-destructive, right?
Margaret Atwood on Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Green Gables, one of my favorite books ever, is 100 years old this month. Margaret Atwood has a nice appreciation with some intriguing ideas.
Happy Free Cone Day!
Don't forget to head to Ben & Jerry's for your free cone today!
April 28, 2008
Politics Links (4/28)
Elizabeth Edwards writes for the Times about how the media is messing up the race.
April 25, 2008
Politics Links (4/25)
Quote of the Day:
Roger Simon: Don't stop believin', Hillary. Hysterical.
Huckabee has a new book coming out in November.
How will the candidates deal with Indiana's unusual blend of demographics?
Gail Collins on - well, I'm not sure how to summarize it, actually, but it was good.
High school class president and VP are suspended for cutting class to see Obama - even though Obama himself wrote them excuse notes. No, really.
We know Clinton won't quit. Should Obama drop out? I don't really think so, obviously, but it's an interesting theory.
An Obama-Clinton Decision Tree. Nifty.
Yet another reason to like him: Obama adds "gay and straight" to the groups he wants to bring together.
Obama's coming out with a major new voter registration initiative.
Try out TypeRacer. I'm torn between "Ooh! Fun!" and flashbacks to the horrible learn-to-type programs we had to use in middle school. Anyone remember the one where you had to type quickly enough to get "friends," and if you messed up too much, then no one would "come to your party"? What were the people who made that program for kids thinking?
How Not to Keep a Customer
A few years ago, a new yarn store opened near where I was living at the time. I was a regular customer for a while, but I'm not anymore, partially because I live farther away (and closer to other stores) now, and partially because I'm not thrilled with some of the store's business practices. But I still go there occasionally, because I happen to be walking by or because I urgently need something when I'm in that town or whatever. Every time, the owner puts on a big show of being thrilled to see me, but it always includes a lot of "I haven't seen you in so long! Why haven't you been here?" Every time, I politely tell her that I've moved, so I'm not in the area as much. Every time, she makes a huge issue of it anyway. I end up feeling even less inclined to shop there, because it means I'll be interrogated about why I apparently don't spend enough money there as she wants me to.
Today, I met a friend who works in that town for lunch. We went to a cafe a few blocks from the yarn store - and there she was. The yarn store owner. And what does she say? "I haven't seen you in so long! Why haven't you been in to the store?" Sigh. Can't we just leave it at "Hi, nice to see you"?
April 24, 2008
Shaving Cream That Will Change Your Life.
Last weekend, my cousin and I were wandering around Cambridge Naturals and she pointed out Kiss My Face Moisture Shave and told me that it would change my life:
Better late than never?
I took this picture of the scarf I'm working on a week or so ago, and it's a lot bigger now. Oh well.
As always, Dewey is very helpful:
April 23, 2008
Politics Links (4/23)
Quote of the Day:
The Times, like the rest of us, is sick of the negative campaigning. I wonder if they're regretting their Clinton endorsement?
It seems Abercrombie and Fitch kids like Obama.
I just don't understand how people can believe things like this.
The Times has a profile of John King and his wonderful map.
Nixon's daughter (also a member of the Eisenhower family) supports Obama. I'm not sure if that helps or hurts, really...
Maureen Dowd: "Or is he simply scared of Hillary because she’s scary?" It's a good column.
April 22, 2008
Liveblogging the PA Results
10:02: Okay, nothing's really happening, so I'm headed for bed. I know the candidates will be speaking eventually, but I'm tired, and it's not like what they say won't be replayed a million times tomorrow.
9:25: Wolf is asking Casey why Obama couldn't win PA by outspending Clinton. Of course, he doesn't mention that Clinton started out way, way ahead. argh.
9:16: A little distraction: How will the candidates look in four years?
9:13: Can we please stop saying that Obama losing a given state/county/whatever to Clinton means that he would also lose it to McCain? That just does not make any sense.
9:04: Aaaaand now CNN has called it too. Bah!
8:59: I understand that everything related to the Democrats needs to be blue, but it seems like we could use some other color for situations like this instead of coloring everything light blue and dark blue. In other news, CNN seems to be less about people yelling at each other than MSNBC is, at least at the moment.
8:55: Have I mentioned how much I love John King and his bloopy map? CNN has it at 53-47 now, and is threatening to call it soon.
8:51: Switched to CNN. They haven't called it yet.
8:49: Bah! MSNBC just called it.
8:47: The MSNBC lady just said "Both Clinton and Obama have faced attacks on major qualities. For Clinton, it's that she's not honest or trustworthy. For Obama, it's that he's elitist." (That's not verbatim, but those were the "major qualities" she said.) I just don't understand how elitism could be seen as in any way as bad as dishonesty and untrustworthiness.
8:45: Why is it that all of the TV news people are so obnoxious?
8:34: Darn it! They just switched from "too close to call" to "too early to call," and Clinton has a 65-35 lead. Among the, you know, 2000 votes they have so far.
8:16: Considering how many states they've called right when the polls closed, and the margin Clinton was supposed to have, it has to be a good thing that they're saying it's too close to call, right?
I don't care if she's a governor...
Who lets a woman IN LABOR on a plane? To fly from Texas to Alaska? Seriously??
Attention mystery readers/watchers!
Please come on over to my new blog, The Mystery Shelf. It's dedicated to news and reviews of mystery novels, TV, film, etc. I'm hoping to get some good discussions going. If you're interested in writing any reviews, let me know!
(Don't worry, I'll still be here just as much too!)
A spring surprise
I woke up this morning and discovered that, seemingly overnight, the tree outside my bedroom window had leaves! Little baby leaves, but still exciting. And then I saw that the forsythia a few doors down is in bloom - again, it seems to have happened overnight, although I realize I've probably just been unobservant. I love forsythia. My parents have a whole row of them along the driveway. I wonder if they'll be blooming when I go home for a visit this weekend?
April 21, 2008
Politics Links (4/21)
Thomas Frank gets at the real issues of "elitism".
Obama reminds Clinton that Gore won.
Andrew Sullivan on what Pennsylvania will say about tactics.
A profile of the 25 Dean appointees to the Credentials Committee.
April 18, 2008
Politics Links (4/18)
I have to admit that I didn't watch the debate the other night. I just couldn't take it. I opted for watching Miss Marple and knitting and drinking tea instead, and I think it was much more relaxing. But anyway, some good takes on the debate for those of us needed to catch up: Gail Collins, Andrew Sullivan, The Telegraph (UK). And here's Obama's own take.
Do latte drinkers and Prius drivers really prefer Obama?
Women in politics: getting more fashion options. (I don't like the line about librarians at the end, though.)
Another feature of long campaigns: More campaign romances.
A profile of Cindy McCain makes me like her a lot better than I like her husband.
The Olympics Thing
In all the back-and-forth about who thinks the Olympic Opening Ceremonies should be boycotted by whom, I don't understand why no one seems aware that the president usually doesn't go, anyway. According to Slate, no president has ever attended the Opening Ceremonies when they weren't in the United States. So what's the significance of a "boycott"? Sure, sometimes the president sends a proxy, and maybe this means Bush won't do that. But it just doesn't seem like that big a deal. So why is it being made such an issue? Are people just not aware that the president usually doesn't go, so it's being used by everyone as an easy way to suggest action or inaction that sounds good but doesn't mean or change anything?
Meanwhile, in Russia...
Not that we all thought Putin was exceedingly reasonable before this, but seriously? What did he think? "Oh, it worked so well for Sarkozy, so I think I'll leave my wife for a gymnast?" And seriously, not even a real gymnast. A rhythmic gymnast. Huh? (I mean, nothing against rhythmic gymnasts, but it's not like she's Nadia Comaneci or something.)
Yesterday, I had caffeine way later in the day than I usually do - I had to stay alert for an evening event, and I had to grab dinner quickly, so that meant a bagel and iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts. Of course, that then meant that once I was home, I couldn't sleep for a while. And now it's Friday, and I'm tired, and I have a weirdly large amount of work to do for a Friday. And lots of it - a big project I'm currently working on - is the sort of work that is both monotonous and finicky, so it doesn't really hold my attention but I can't go on autopilot either. Bah. I think this all adds up to the sort of day when I need to stop at Starbucks on my way from my pre-work volunteer gig to my actual job. Mmm, mocha.
April 17, 2008
A small request
Can we stop calling everything that even vaguely resembles a political scandal "blahblah-gate" now, please?
What will they think of next?
I just got back from the dentist. When it was time for the tooth-brushing segment of the appointment, the hygienist started reciting the flavor options. I was about to go with the standard mint when she said "Cookie dough." Cookie dough? I pointed out that that sounded sort of counterproductive, and she agreed, but said it was really good, so I gave it a try. And - yeah. Weird. But not bad.
April 16, 2008
Not only did I take the extra comforter off my bed on Saturday, and put a bag of winter clothes in the attic on Sunday... but I just put non-flannel sheets on my bed for the first time since, oh, October? So yes, New Englanders, if it snows again, you can totally blame me.
Politics Links (4/16)
Rendell is a new sort of political host and promoter for Clinton in Pennsylvania.
Huckabee's big announcement? Not so exciting, IMHO.
Warren Harding: The real first black president?
How much does Clinton owe Penn?
Apparently McCain's site lifted their "family recipes" from the Food Network.
Roman Catholics for Obama. Just in time for the pope's visit.
Apparently pollsters have decided that what we eat correlates to our political choices. Hm.
We're having lovely spring weather in New Hampshire this week, and this morning I was reunited with my favorite warm-weather breakfast: Stonyfield Farm Nonfat French Vanilla Organic Yogurt with a sprinkling of granola and fruit. I really need to start making my own granola, because it's so ridiculously expensive, and really, how hard could it be? Anyone have any favorite recipes?
April 15, 2008
Why isn't Obama "too pretty"?
I'm sure we all remember the ridiculous argument that John Edwards was "too pretty" to be President. Recently, I've been wondering why those same charges haven't been leveled against Obama. He's a strikingly handsome man, and younger than Edwards, to boot. (In some pictures from around his law school days, he practically looks like a model.) So why aren't we being told that Obama, like Edwards, is too pretty to be President? (What the heck that even means is another question.) A friend and I discussed this over dinner the other night (mmm, broccoli with spicy garlic sauce) and came up with a few possibilities:
1. Obama's detractors just haven't needed to mention his prettiness, since they're already accusing him of being a Muslim/racist/atheist/Marxist/socialist/whatever it is today. There are more easy (if false) targets with Obama than Edwards.
Are we on the right track? Any other ideas?
EDIT: Consensus (at least among people named C/Kate...) seems to be that I'm just nuts. Although - hmm. I think my thinking was not necessarily that he's ridiculously handsome or anything, but that I don't see how Edwards is more "conventionally good-looking" than Obama. Because I think (just off the top of my head) that Obama has more regular features, and Edwards is sort of squinty, and his hair is floppy. Hm.
April 14, 2008
Politics Links (4/14)
Mike Huckabee has... something... coming soon.
Does Obama's international popularity hurt him?
The Clintons? Proud of themselves, and each other.
Are people really backing Obama because their kids say so? Hm.
Politico has picked the 50 greatest political moments of the past 50 years.
McCain and faith. It seems like an interesting shift that the Republican candidate is talking about religion a lot less than either Democrat this year.
April 13, 2008
When appliances attack...
Yesterday, I was trying to wash one of my comforters before putting it away for the season. I have washed this comforter before without incident, so I didn't really think it would be a big deal. But no: as I was about to leave to meet up with some friends last night, I discovered that the unbalancedness of the load had somehow made the washing machine turn about 100 degrees, which in turn had made the dryer move and disconnect. Gah!
My downstairs neighbors were asleep when I got home last night, so I didn't want to start moving large appliances around and decided to wait to deal with it until morning. Which I did. But in the process of trying to move them back into place, I managed to pretty much barricade myself into the bathroom with the washing machine in front of the door. That was a somewhat troubling few minutes.
I finally got it to move to where it is both usable and not blocking anything. And now both machines seem to be functioning correctly. During this process, I did find a dollar, a missing sock, and a few other small items, so at least that's something... But whew. It was a bit alarming. I think I deserve some cocoa after that.
April 11, 2008
A bit of Friday amusement...
Pride and Prejudice, acted out with toys.
April 10, 2008
The Lost Children of Rockdale County
The PBS documentary The Lost Children of Rockdale County had been referenced in several articles I'd read recently, but I'd never actually seen it, so it finally occurred to me to get it from Netflix. It was... interesting. Quick summary: a syphilis outbreak among teenagers leads to the exposure of a secret teenage culture of ridiculous amounts of group sex and various other destructive behaviors. You can see more at PBS's site about the documentary. I thought the Frontline people did a good job of interviewing the teens and their parents; I was amazed at how much they got several of the teens to tell them. (The cute blonde 13-year-olds using their stuffed animals to show the interviewer what they meant by various sexual terms and positions was pretty disturbing.) But while the filmmakers did a pretty good job of uncovering what happened, I didn't think they did as well as they thought they had at figuring out why. They put most of the blame on indulgent and/or negliglent parents with too few rules, and also mention TV, alcohol, the fact that there was nothing to do in the town... but something is missing. It would have been improved by the addition of some academics - developmental psychologists, sociologists, even anthropologists - to put it in a larger cultural context. I guess my basic problem with the documentary was that there are lots of places that have bored teenagers with too much alcohol and too little supervision, so why did this particular problem happen in this particular place? I wanted Jared Diamond to come in at the end to tell me what it was about this town that made fairly normal factors produce such abnormal results.
April 09, 2008
So many books, so little time.
(I am, in fact, wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the above motto at this very moment. Because I'm a dork. In case you were wondering.)
So while I may be bored with all my knitting projects, I've having the opposite problem with books. I'm back in that mood in which I want to read EVERYTHING right NOW. (How is that different from my usual self, you may ask? Good question. I think it may just be a matter of degree.) I wander around the library and all the books are so pretty and they all want to come home with me and I get a bit despondent, because I know I will never ever be able to read all of them, and it's so sad. But at the same time, I have trouble focusing, because I want to read ALL OF THEM, so I end up being all scattered and not finishing much, and it's all very unsatisfying.
Sometimes I'm jealous of people who don't like reading quite as much, or who love to read but have more specific interests. Who know they like romance or sci fi or poetry or whatever, and can stay more on top of things. (Or just not care.) But there are very few books I'd say I didn't want to read, if you happened to ask me when I was in the right mood. There are some I want to read more than others, sure, but so many of them look so good! For example, when I was in the fiction stacks tonight looking for Jhumpa Lahiri, Nora Ephron, and Meg Cabot, I noticed an historical novel from 1960 about Disraeli's wife, and while that wasn't anything I was at all planning to read, it just had to come home with me. Sigh.
One of my friends deals with this book angst by consoling himself with the possibility that he will live forever, and everyone else will die (and therefore stop writing books) and so he will have time to catch up. Unfortunately, I think we'll all die - and then when we get to heaven we'll discover that all our favorite authors have been writing more books since their own deaths. Argh!
When I got up this morning, I noticed that I had apparently left my knitting bag unzipped and open all night. Uh-oh. But - shockingly, it seems nothing was disturbed. I think this means that even Dewey is bored with my knitting. Sigh.
It's not that I don't like the things I'm knitting. I do. Really. But I'm just feeling rather blah about most of them right now. I think part of the issue might be that I keep starting things (because I'm bored with the other things) and then I feel like I'm not making any progress on anything. And it's finally feeling like spring, which means I have a dozen lace projects, and then when I don't feel like knitting lace... yeah. But at the same time, I'm really wanting to knit, which actually makes it harder. If I was feeling "eh" about knitting in general, I'd just read more for a few weeks and wait it out. But I want to knit! I think what I'm going to do is pick the project I like the most right now (a simple lace scarf in yellow Silky Wool) and try to just knit that (except for the sock in my purse, for when I'm out). Until it's done. Really.
Of course, you all know I've said that before. We'll see how long it lasts.
April 08, 2008
You know how sometimes you look around and you're completely uninspired by any of your knitting projects?
Yeah. Hate that.
Perfect for Spring
Here's my Rock Creek Yarn Simply Sock in Cherry Blossom. Look at the pretty packaging it came in!
It's beautiful! I wish I could show it to you knitted up, but I'm trying to finish a few things before starting anything new. Soon!
Politics Links (4/8)
The evolution of torture in the Bush administration.
April 07, 2008
Happy Birthday, Wordsworth!
It's Wordsworth's birthday! Here's the beginning of one of my favorites of his, Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey:
FIVE years have past; five summers, with the length
April 05, 2008
Politics Links (4/5)
The Clintons finally release their tax returns. Summary: They got really really rich.
The World According to John McCain Foreign policy, temper, emotion, and Joe Lieberman... an interesting mix. Plus, did you know Gary Hart was an usher at McCain's wedding?
Does Pennsylvania have a particular problem with electing women and minorities? If they did, would so many people be registering as new Democratic voters? Hmmmm.
A look at what Samantha Power is doing now. Hint: She's still really busy.
McCain: Really bad at giving speeches.
April 04, 2008
Politics Links (4/4)
Politico has a guide to the undecided superdelegates.
Caucusing elephants. No, really.
Elizabeth Edwards has taken a visiting fellowship at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Obama wants Gore to work in his administration.
Edwards rules out another VP run. Which we pretty much all figured. But at the end of that article, there's what some of us would like to read as a teeny tiny hint that he supports Obama. (Or that gender biases are very entrenched in political language. Whatever.)
Okay, this article about a supplier of arms for Afghanistan is just... bizarre. And, like all good political stories these days, involves prostitutes.
Interesting profile of McCain, set during the NH primary and Super Tuesday. Wow, he really hates Romney.
April 03, 2008
Politics Links (4/3)
All the fun is going on in the campaign, and no one likes Bush anyway, so White House reporters are bored.
Pennsylvania voters feel neglected.
So much for universal health care - Clinton didn't bother paying the bills for her employees' health insurance. No coverage was interrupted, but still...
Obama event at Penn? Nope, it's an April Fool's joke.
Some unconventional (and amusing!) ideas for wooing superdelegates.
NPR's Political Junkie has the first in a series on McCain's VP options.
I just realized I didn't really read any adult novels in March. Huh.
April 02, 2008
Politics Links (4/2)
Richardson responds to Carville's attacks. A must-read.
There's a lot of talk recently about Catholics becoming "the new Evangelicals" in a political sense, whatever that's supposed to mean. Most of it is centered on the Democratic race, but here's one about McCain
Bosnia's former president discusses Hillary Clinton's visit. He agrees with now-conventional wisdom on the basics - no sniper fire - but does support Clinton's assertion that there were worries of danger.
April 01, 2008
Politics Links (4/1)
Articles like this one are really driving me crazy. Yes, I think Clinton should get out of the race! But no, it's not because she's a woman! It's because she's losing! And because she keeps lying! Gah.
Clinton adopts Rocky theme song. Didn't anyone tell her that Colbert totally claimed that as his theme song for PA?
An historical look at the U.S. and torture.
The Campaign Season of Taking Offense I think it's a good point that one of the reasons for all of the exaggerated offenses and apologies is the fact that Clinton and Obama are so close, as far as policy goes, that there's not a whole lot else to say. And I think this this month of nothing before Pennsylvania has something to do with it too. Everyone's on edge, and that can't help.